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tandem stability?

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I'm taking a friend in my dagger reflection 15 after xmas. She's not a heavy person, nor am I. This will be my first experience going tandem in this boat with someone. I typically go solo. Are there any tips I need to consider when going tandem in this boat? It will be flat water 100%.

I will say that solo the stability is excellent. I can turn forwards, backwards, and move all around without the boat even hinting at tipping. But I have only paddled amidship and in the bow (reversed position).
 
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Your paddling station will be much narrower. When getting in keep heads low and do not get in standing up!. Stern should get in first and the bow later. The reason is that if the bow gets in first she cannot see what you are doing and the boat will wobble. Contrary to what guys think women do not have eyes in the back of their heads. Keep your heads within the gunwales. This means that she should be mindful of looking back to you.

Bow paddler ejection is the leading cause of capsize. Take dry clothes with you in a dry bag too;

Paddling is not all about the boat.. It is a marriage of boat paddler and paddle.
 
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Does the other person have much paddling experience? Most people try to turn around to talk to you and that invariable ends up with both of you in the water. Other things like they sit on one side of the boat so you have to counter or it leans. I am much more comfortable in my boats solo than with a novice paddler in the bow. Just sayin. Take dry clothes in case. And make sure the phones and stuff are in waterproof cases.
I paddled so long with Karin in the bow of our canoe that we were like one person. It really made a difference.
 
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But I have only paddled amidship and in the bow (reversed position).

I have a Bell Morningstar that I use as my solo. It has comparable specs to the Dagger. I had no problem going tandem with anyone as long as the seats were in stock position. I moved the stern seat forward 8 inches for solo, so it sits same distance from the center as the bow seat (asymmetrical canoe). Now anyone over 125lbs is a bit of a liability in the bow seat in any kind of waves. Other than that was perfectly stable for tandem.
 
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You can increase the stability of a tandem canoe if each paddler sits with their hip right up against the gunwale on opposite sides. Try this experiment with a third person assistant. Sit each paddler in the center of their seats while floating in shallow water and have a another person gently try to roll the canoe from side to side without tipping it all the way over. Then have each paddler sit with hip against opposite gunwale and try it again.. You should notice that there is more resistance to rolling as inertia is increased on each side. Sitting against the gunwale while paddling also increases efficiency of the paddle stroke, making it much easier to hold the correct vertical angle with the paddle shaft for straight travel, and easing performance of other strokes as well.
 
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Gunwale leaning takes a certain mindset. While it doe produce better efficiency it is scary for newbies. After teaching beginners for 20 years I gave up on insisting on it from the get go. Its part of tandem FreeStyle where both people can actually cantilever over opposite sides ( advanced) Also low seats aid stability as does the ability to kneel but at this point you may not want to lower the seat and kneeling takes time to get used to and really needs foam pads ( non slip)
 
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Newbies do not have to lean over the gunwale to gain the anti-roll benefit. Butt positioning is all that is required, with a straight upright posture. Having the water close with stacked hands on the paddle shaft should be a positioning goal to make paddling easier for everyone. If it takes some time to get used to the feeling of being close to the water and ultimately safer and more stable while paddling, then it is well worth the effort.
 
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You can increase the stability of a tandem canoe if each paddler sits with their hip right up against the gunwale on opposite sides. Try this experiment with a third person assistant. Sit each paddler in the center of their seats while floating in shallow water and have a another person gently try to roll the canoe from side to side without tipping it all the way over. Then have each paddler sit with hip against opposite gunwale and try it again.. You should notice that there is more resistance to rolling as inertia is increased on each side. Sitting against the gunwale while paddling also increases efficiency of the paddle stroke, making it much easier to hold the correct vertical angle with the paddle shaft for straight travel, and easing performance of other strokes as well.

I have been paddling tandem for a gazillion years, and I would never ask a newbie to do that.
Also what is going to happen when they switch, (hut) ?
 

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Originally posted by yknpdlr
You can increase the stability of a tandem canoe if each paddler sits with their hip right up against the gunwale on opposite sides. Try this experiment with a third person assistant. Sit each paddler in the center of their seats while floating in shallow water and have a another person gently try to roll the canoe from side to side without tipping it all the way over. Then have each paddler sit with hip against opposite gunwale and try it again.. You should notice that there is more resistance to rolling as inertia is increased on each side. Sitting against the gunwale while paddling also increases efficiency of the paddle stroke, making it much easier to hold the correct vertical angle with the paddle shaft for straight travel, and easing performance of other strokes as well.



I have been paddling tandem for a gazillion years, and I would never ask a newbie to do that.
Also what is going to happen when they switch, (hut) ?

It may be that reciprocal hip hugging the gunwales increases stability somewhat -- I frankly never thought about that. However, I don't think it's a good idea overall. As Jack suggests, that would result in balance and positional inefficiencies for switch paddling.

In addition, for non-switchers, it would interfere with the bow paddler's ability efficiently to execute cross-bow forward strokes, cross-bow draws and cross-bow duffeks, all of which are critical moves in river paddling. I teach complete novice bow paddlers draws and cross-draws before we ever start paddling. They are bow (and solo) paddling skills that should be learned immediately, if only clumsily. Cross-forwards will be taught a few hours later.
 
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I'll hazard that there will be a good bit of switching if new to tandem. There doesn't have to be but often is the first few times out. That course line intended to be straight often comes out as z's. The stern paddler is already going to be at the narrowest part of the boat. Often there is not much extra room to slde right and left on the seat. As for a new bow paddler ferget it.. Most new bow paddlers never really get the paddle all the way in the water. Not slamming anyone but I usually see lots of mostly timid air paddling. That does go away in time. Glenn I think the cross bow stuff is good to know of course but that might not happen either. On the Allagash I start with the bow doing forward, draw, and cross draw.. That latter often turns into switching hands which we don't really want but it happens
 
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It may be that reciprocal hip hugging the gunwales increases stability somewhat -- I frankly never thought about that. However, I don't think it's a good idea overall. As Jack suggests, that would result in balance and positional inefficiencies for switch paddling.

That may be best with some practiced switch coordination, which means seat time and experience together.

Much of my tandem experience is with a kid bowman a hundred pounds lighter than me. Where he sat on the seat didn’t much matter, I could shift over a half inch and balance the load.

On trips with adults the bow seat location and gear load trim became more important, especially depending on wind direction on open waters.

Switching stroke sides is another issue. With some tandems there isn’t a lot of seat width to shift over to the other side, especially in the stern seat. I’m right handed and prefer to single blade on the left; it helps if my bowman is happiest on the right most of the time.

Burden matters. The Reflection 15 is a fine do-a-bit-of-everything canoe. Slightly asymmetrical, but not enough to be a dog paddled bow backwards. 15’ 4” x 34” max, with an inch of rocker at each end and deep enough at 13.5” midships.

Chansta, you don’t say if this flatwater outing is a day trip, or a gear-laden paddle-in camper, or what kind of waters. 13.5” deep should be plenty to carry two non-heavy-weights and some gear weight in the Reflection, and that burden will help make it feel more secure. Dagger listed the Reflection 15 at 800 lbs with 6” freeboard.

Yeah. . . . .ballast in dry bags. . . . . .that’s why I take 50lbs of crap with me even on solo day trips ;-)
 
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That may be best with some practiced switch coordination, which means seat time and experience together.

Much of my tandem experience is with a kid bowman a hundred pounds lighter than me. Where he sat on the seat didn’t much matter, I could shift over a half inch and balance the load.

On trips with adults the bow seat location and gear load trim became more important, especially depending on wind direction on open waters.

Switching stroke sides is another issue. With some tandems there isn’t a lot of seat width to shift over to the other side, especially in the stern seat. I’m right handed and prefer to single blade on the left; it helps if my bowman is happiest on the right most of the time.

Burden matters. The Reflection 15 is a fine do-a-bit-of-everything canoe. Slightly asymmetrical, but not enough to be a dog paddled bow backwards. 15’ 4” x 34” max, with an inch of rocker at each end and deep enough at 13.5” midships.

Chansta, you don’t say if this flatwater outing is a day trip, or a gear-laden paddle-in camper, or what kind of waters. 13.5” deep should be plenty to carry two non-heavy-weights and some gear weight in the Reflection, and that burden will help make it feel more secure. Dagger listed the Reflection 15 at 800 lbs with 6” freeboard.

Yeah. . . . .ballast in dry bags. . . . . .that’s why I take 50lbs of crap with me even on solo day trips ;-)


So, this is flatwater paddle in camping. 2 person tent, food, cooking gear, dry bags with extra clothes. Nothing heavy except for water. This lake is well past 13.5 feet deep but has been drawn down during winter months. It's maybe a 10 minute paddle from put in to camp site.
 
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What I would do in your case; make sure all the gear is balanced and the canoe is trim. You (not in the canoe) hold it absolutely as firm as you can and have her get in and sit in the middle. Then you get in (keeping it balanced as you do). Then tell her if she feels like paddling to go ahead and try it, but if she doesn't ,just enjoy the ride and you do the paddle using J strokes or switches or what ever way you are good at to keep it going straight.
On getting out do the exact same with you getting out first.
 
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What I would do in your case; make sure all the gear is balanced and the canoe is trim. You (not in the canoe) hold it absolutely as firm as you can and have her get in and sit in the middle. Then you get in (keeping it balanced as you do). Then tell her if she feels like paddling to go ahead and try it, but if she doesn't ,just enjoy the ride and you do the paddle using J strokes or switches or what ever way you are good at to keep it going straight.
On getting out do the exact same with you getting out first.

Yeah. Luckily this tandem has seats fore, aft, and amidships. That was a huge bonus with this boat. If I seat her in the middle, should I place more gear/weight in the bow to even it out?
 
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To add: I spent years since I was a kid paddling with my Dad in the OT camper. Granted, that's an incredibly stable canoe. He did the J on the left and I did the forward stroke on my right. This was river paddling with class 2 vs completely flat water.
 
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Yeah. Luckily this tandem has seats fore, aft, and amidships. That was a huge bonus with this boat. If I seat her in the middle, should I place more gear/weight in the bow to even it out?

I need to apologize for my saying "the middle" - By middle I meant the middle of the bow seat. Not on one side or the other of it. the gear should be in the middle of the canoe. Either a little forward or a little aft, depending on yours and her weight, to get the boat trim or a tad bow light..
Never get the bow heavy, or you will end up zigging and zagging
 
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I need to apologize for my saying "the middle" - By middle I meant the middle of the bow seat. Not on one side or the other of it. the gear should be in the middle of the canoe. Either a little forward or a little aft, depending on yours and her weight, to get the boat trim or a tad bow light..
Never get the bow heavy, or you will end up zigging and zagging

I understand. Makes sense now. Unfortunately there is a hole in the cane seat where she'll be paddling, but I can just put a foam pad on top.
 
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I understand. Makes sense now. Unfortunately there is a hole in the cane seat where she'll be paddling, but I can just put a foam pad on top.

Perfect ! Put a five gallon bucket under it and you just invented the first canoe with a built in porta-john. We'll go into business together and make a fortune
 
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